With everything so lush and green around Atlanta, it’s a fabulous time to enjoy nature and treat yourself and family to barbecues! Cooking in an outdoor kitchen is a fantastic way to get the benefits of the sunshine, fresh air, and your homegrown greens and herbs. Your own backyard probably offers up several different areas for cooking. Let’s consider a few guaranteed to inspired the chef.
Deck or Patio Corner. This location takes you out of the main traffic area but allows plenty of elbow room to smother those pork ribs with your own delicious secret sauce. This setup allows for either a gas line or moveable setup. Too much sun in the corner? Consider a pergola overhead for shade and as a beautiful design element to any deck or patio.
Pavilion Kitchen. For a more formal cooking area, a covered pavilion is an outstanding choice. This stand-alone structure typically features columns, a solid roof (often featuring a cupulo), a professional cooking station, built in counters with refrigeration, and more. Use outdoor-specific appliances (stainless steel sink, outdoor refrigerator, and cement or stainless steel counter) that won’t rust during rain or snow. It’s easy to add a bar area into your design to keep the party going!
Weather can be a big issue when it comes to outdoor entertainment. Building a tall roof or pergola over your outdoor kitchen will allow you to enjoy cooking outdoors, even in the rain or extreme heat. You can incorporate different forms of shelter such as having a stone roof, or simply supplying patio umbrellas for coverage. Hot locations may want an overhead fan or mist sprays. Colder regions may want heat lamps, a fire pit, or fireplace to warm up the area. For areas with pesky bugs or mosquitoes, consider adding netting around the dining area or a mechanical mosquito device. Outdoor lighting will not only extend your time outside, it offers safety for walkways, staircases, and grilling areas. Some outdoor kitchen designers incorporate lighting into the kitchen, either under the countertops or above.
Cozy Fire Pit or Fireplace. For casual snacking and entertaining, nothing says “gather a group of friends and family together” like a fire pit. Although, not as formal as a grill or barbecue, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can provide a flame over which you can toast marshmallows or kabobs. Choose a spot that is away from your house and any low-hanging trees or other structures. A fire pit can be a DIY project or a stone mason if your design is more elaborate. For bigger budgets (and area), a fireplace is a key focal point to any outdoor space.
Covered Back Porch. If you can locate your kitchen just outside your back door on the porch, that’s a great thing! Proximity to the kitchen makes things more convenient for the chef. And, a conveniently located alfresco cooking station is easier to keep stocked. Likewise, a house-hugging outdoor kitchen doesn’t compromise your natural surroundings, leaving you free to enjoy them equally well from both the house and your outdoor space. Bonus: Your kitchen will stay cleaner by keeping the cooking mess outdoors.
Tight on Space? Consider a BBQ shed or bracket overhang. Both options provide some shade. A barbecue shed has the added advantage of protecting the chef from rain and is typically supported by 4 posts.
Want something completely different? How about a pizza oven? It’s a great idea when you entertain larger crowds or family get-togethers. Pizza ovens have circular floors and domed ceilings that reflect the heat down. They are typically seen in the corner of a patio. The oven door stays open while you add, turn, and remove your pizzas, You have to keep a fire going in the oven lest it cool. Encourage your friends to help out by adding different toppings. By the way, you can also use a pizza oven to bake bread and roast meats, fish, and vegetables.
Lastly, where you decide to place your outdoor kitchen depends upon several factors:
1). Make sure that smoke from the grill doesn’t waft back into the home. So have a good idea of the general wind pattern in your yard and orient the grill appropriately.
2). If you frequently entertain, and don’t want to travel a long distance from the indoor kitchen to the outside, consider placing your grill and outdoor kitchen relatively near the entrance to the inside kitchen. Remember that outdoor cooking and entertaining frequently means carrying heavy platters from one place to another.
3). If you want to maintain the view you currently have from inside the house to the outside, you’ll want to place the outdoor kitchen to the side or at an angle so that the view isn’t blocked.
4). Consider the overall traffic flow of your yard and the safety of your family. A hot, outdoor grill shouldn’t be located right next to the area where the Frisbee is thrown around, or near where you ride bikes or play. Just like an indoor kitchen, the outdoor kitchen is full of hazards so place it accordingly. Good planning will help ensure that your outdoor kitchen is in the right location for your yard.
IMPORTANT TIP: If you plan on installing an outdoor grill under a structure, be sure you allow plenty of clearance space between the grill and the ceiling, and design the room for ventilation. To prevent house fires, professionals never recommend operating a grill under eves or decks unless there is a professionally installed ventilation hood. Keep your grill clean to prevent accidental fires. Contact us for help on designing and building your new outdoor entertainment area.